This is my recreation of a favourite dish from the Mekong Delta.
Words and recipe Vanessa Baxter. Photography Todd Eyre
- 1 lemongrass stalk
- 2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 chillies, finely chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped coriander leaves
- 1 cup coarsely chopped Vietnamese mint leaves
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 3 Tbsp sesame oil
- sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season
- 1 large fish (approx 1kg) such as tarakihi, scaled and gutted
Remove the stiff outer layers from the lemongrass and pop into the fish cavity. Finely chop the lemongrass white end, combine with all the marinade ingredients in a food processor, and process to a paste.
Slice through the skin and flesh of the top of the fish in a diagonal pattern. Pour the marinade over, and marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 180ºC (or heat your barbecue). The whole fish can be baked in the oven. Turn the fish over carefully after 15 minutes, and cook through. The cooking time will depend on the size of your fish.
Recipes from The Fearless Kitchen cookbook by MasterChef New Zealand finalist and foodie Vanessa Baxter. For more, visit vanessabaxter.co.nz